Fat Tuesday. A day dedicated to being a glutton. What could be better?
Um, not much else.
In honor of this day of outrageous, pre-Lenten debauchery I inched out of my comfort zone and prepared a traditional French Quarter treat: beignets.
Why was this outside my comfort zone? Well, I don’t do much deep frying as a rule, and what little frying I’ve done has been with vegetables and chicken. You know, stuff that’s normally healthy. Fried dough was really not far behind, I suppose.
Boy oh boy was I happy with these. My guinea pig, aka Rob, was thrilled to bits that I kept forcing him to test them out. I quote: “How often do you shove doughnuts at me and tell me to eat them?”
This recipe is a modified version of Paula Deen’s – because I’d use anyone else’s recipe when it comes to fried food. Puh-lease.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose)
1/4 cup shortening (I used unsalted butter)
Oil, for deep-frying
In a large bowl (the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one), dissolve the sugar and yeast in the lukewarm water. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Mixture should be frothy.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and evaporated milk. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add in 3 cups of flour and salt and mix using paddle attachment. Switch out to dough hook. Add rest of flour and shortening. Mix until dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl, then knead for a few minutes until dough is smooth.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl (turn dough to coat). Allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Once dough has risen, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4″ thickness and cut into pieces – I cut into much larger pieces than 1-inch squares although this is what was instructed. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry dough squares until puffed and golden brown.
Drain beignets on paper towels and immediately toss with powdered sugar or sift powdered sugar on top.
See how puffy and light they are? Scrumptious. And yes, it was I who took a bite in order to give you a cross-sectional view of the finished product. I’m all about bringing my beautiful readers into the kitchen with me.
I just give and give to you guys, don’t I?
Now make up some beignets – or just go eat a lot of doughnuts without guilt! – and enjoy the heck out of your Fat Tuesday. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.
Have you ever eaten beignets? Do you think this is something you’d like to try yourself? How do you celebrate Fat Tuesday?
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